It’s time. Time for me to share with you all my personal journey of climbing to Kilimanjaro. Over the next few weeks I will be sharing my journey with you of leaving for the mountain, climbing the mountain, and returning home to my family.
It all started with a goodbye.
An hour before we left for the airport to start our journey to climb Mount Kilimanjaro, I felt sick to my stomach. Knowing what I had to do left my chest tight. I am not talking about the mountain, I am talking about saying goodbye to the kids. Their smell and touch was the one thing I was going to miss the most.
The hour went by quick but I remember every second of it. Our final moments together were really tough and my kids all broke down. Just before we left my husband prayed for our safe return and we had to say our final goodbyes. They sobbed and held onto me for dear life.
“How do I do this?” I kept asking myself. As I climbed into the car next to my dad my heart was broken, into a million pieces. As we drove away into the dark night it was pouring down with rain and I could see the sky lit up to our right. The weather was as heavy as my heart was.
Taking on such a big challenge as climbing Kilimanjaro is mentally challenging. The not knowing and not being sure if you will ever see them again is just as much of a challenge as climbing the mountain itself.
Our Road Trip
Two hours before we left our first thunderstorm for Spring arrived. As we left we drove away from the storm and I was so thankful for that. I spoke more to my dad in our two hour road trip than I had done in the past ten years. Uninterrupted conversation, I mean. I spoke. He listened. It was nice.
It felt right.
Arriving At OR Tambo International Airport
We arrived two hours and ten minutes after leaving the family. The Check-in counter was clear and we were assisted immediately. Then came the bad news … our flight was delayed by three hours. Not the best feeling in the world. It was already 10:00 pm and we hadn’t slept. It meant that we would be there waiting until 04.00 am before we could get on the plane.
We went to the Bidvest Premier Lounge and we waited. It felt like a lifetime. Eventually the day changed from Saturday to Sunday and we were no longer on the 22nd September. The lounge had a TV but with only sport channels, which of cause made my dad happy.
I found myself two chairs and made myself at home. We had lots of good coffee that night. I had a power nap and so did my dad. Not for long though, but at least we had something. It helped a lot.
My dad surprised me with a business class ticket and wow was I surprised and over the moon. By the time we finally sat down and were ready to fly we were exhausted. We had been awake for almost twenty four hours. A very emotional twenty four hours.
Our flight to Nairobi, Kenya wasn’t long, we were there in four hours. We both slept after take off and had a good two and a half hour nap.
We arrived one hour late for our connecting flight to Kilimanjaro in Tanzania. It was such a disappointment. We were looking so forward to a day next to the pool, chilling and resting before our big climb. However, it turned out that this was not meant to be, not for us anyway.
The next flight we were able to get was only nine hours later and so the whole waiting period started all over again. Just try imagine how we felt.
We were again stuck in an airport. Still exhausted. Back in the VIP lounge. Waiting. Watching the seconds click by. I mean you can only eat and drink so much. The airport was so small it took me about fifteen minutes to walk through all the shops.
I took another nap, again stretching my tall body over two different chairs. It was a good nap.
It wasn’t an easy day. In a way we were content just sitting there watching the planes come and go but inside it felt like a thousand butterflies constantly fluttering in my stomach.
Later in the day my dad was sitting across the room when he said “it’s now time to get our heads right.” In that moment I felt nauseous. When words like that come from someone who has walked the walk you realize something big is coming. It was there that I left the Elle magazine that I was paging through and decided to take a nap. Sleep was the best medicine.
Final Destination – Kilimanjaro
When the time finally came, we were super excited to board the final plane for Kilimanjaro airport.
It was a short flight, taking only forty minutes to fly to Kilimanjaro airport. When we flew past her, Mount Kilimanjaro, I couldn’t believe what I was about to do. It hit me again. The momentous task ahead of us.
I was super nervous but at the same time I was ready to take on my mountain. I needed to get on with our adventure so that I could finally put her to sleep.
We arrived at Mount Meru Hotel about two hours later, still exhausted. By now it was around 19:00 and we’d only had about four hours sleep max, in thirty six hours. We still had a meeting that night about all the important things to know when you climb Kilimanjaro.
We had a nice dinner and got our bags ready for the next morning. The driver was to collect us at 06.00 am. We went back down stairs and had a Kilimanjaro beer before we went to bed.
I slept like a baby that night and thankfully so. We had a tough journey ahead with tired bodies.
I can’t help but just love our continent a little bit more after this incredible trip. It’s so beautiful. My heart belongs to Africa and always will.
Even though we had such a bad start to our trip, we had good times too. We had nice chats, serious talks and I got a chance to share my heart with my dad again. We made memories.
Make sure to follow my journey as I write about our amazing climb to the roof of Africa.